literature, writing

What Does Publishing Mean by “High Concept,” Really?

If you've done much research on getting your writing published, chances are you’ve come across the term “high concept.” Agents and editors sometimes use the phrase "high-concept fiction" when taking about the sort of writing they'd like to acquire, and you'll often hear it touted by writing blogs as a surefire way to make your… Continue reading What Does Publishing Mean by “High Concept,” Really?

literature, writing

The Power of Specificity in Fiction

The internet is rife with tips and guides that tell aspiring writers how to write. Many writing "rules" are generally agreed upon (i.e., avoiding excessive use of adverbs, and the whole showing rather than telling issue). But from everything I've seen, one of the most overlooked and undervalued pieces of writing advice is "be more… Continue reading The Power of Specificity in Fiction

history, linguistics, literature

Dragons and Sin in Medieval Germanic Literature

Dragon-like figures feature prominently in folklore from around the world. They often hold---or once held---special significance to their respective cultures. Chinese dragons historically symbolized good luck and imperial power, and were used in iconography surrounding the emperor. The founder of the Han dynasty went so far as to claim that his mother dreamt of a… Continue reading Dragons and Sin in Medieval Germanic Literature

linguistics, literature

Dialects in Literature: A Look at Robert Burns

It's a song commonly played to ring in the New Year, bidding farewell to the old. Across the English-speaking world, it's used for graduations, for funerals, for any major transitional period in one's life. As a result, pretty much everyone is familiar with the tune. But growing up, I never knew anyone who was actually… Continue reading Dialects in Literature: A Look at Robert Burns

history, literature

History through Poems: Examining Beowulf

Epic poems have incredible staying power both as literary achievements and as historical resources. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf is one of the foremost examples of this. Despite its mythological themes, the story offers historians a rare insight into Anglo-Saxon ideals of masculinity, heroism, and society. At the same time, it presents literary scholars with a… Continue reading History through Poems: Examining Beowulf

linguistics, literature

The Common Soldier: An Archetype in 17th- and 18th-Century Theatre

In a world of emerging paper currency and capitalism, it comes as little surprise that contemporary entertainment so often focused on economic problems. A surprisingly common theme in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century works was the economics of the human body. Often, this issue was addressed in literature and performances through female prostitution, but some texts present… Continue reading The Common Soldier: An Archetype in 17th- and 18th-Century Theatre

literature

Putting Wilde into Conversation with His Work

Oscar Wilde has always been known as an eccentric sort of thinker. His contributions to literary theory and criticism fit the bill—he made it his purpose to defy convention and question society. Anyone who has read The Picture of Dorian Gray likely has some idea of Wilde's philosophy on Art and Beauty. The long monologues… Continue reading Putting Wilde into Conversation with His Work